5 Necessary Ingredients For Growing A Super-Romantic (But Very Stable) Relationship

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bearded man gazes lovingly at a lovely brunette woman

Unfortunately, relationship skills and self-care are not taught in school. Yet, these two life necessities can definitely have a huge impact on someone's happiness and success in life.

Here are five necessary ingredients for the type of relationship that is both romantic and mature. The list might surprise you.

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Five key ingredients for building a romantic relationship that truly fulfills you 

1. Knowing yourself

In this process called life,  many of us learn to hide feelings, strengths, desires, and personal goals. If they are hidden from ourselves, we cannot show up as a whole person in a relationship. Taking time to look inside of ourselves and visit the hidden corners of our feelings, experiences and desires help us to show up as authentic and honest person.

Too many of us are taught by well-meaning figures to bury our feelings and to be ashamed of our dreams and to just plain keep others happy. This does not work in a relationship. So often I hear from couples: "I just don't know who he or she is. I get such mixed messages or no response at all about where we want to go together, in life."

In knowing ourselves, we do know what we personally need to keep on our own pathway towards success and happiness and then we can communicate that to our partners. Warren Buffet just came out with the 4 words that lead to success and happiness. "Do what you love!"

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2. Practicing self-care

Do you know how many people are just plain burned out on life, lately? We have been tested in our abilities to survive and adapt during some current tough challenges here on our planet. Being the best version of ourselves in a relationship means we know how to and we do all it takes to be healthy in mind, body, and spirit.

When we don't feel good, or we are too stressed or we lack faith in ourselves or in the future, we cannot be a good partner to anyone. We all know the steps to take for good self-care, but do we practice these behaviors? As human beings, we need good sleep, exercise, a healthy diet, time outdoors in nature, adventure and fun, continuous learning, and a belief in something greater than ourselves.

Whatever your religious or spiritual beliefs may be, spending time with the practices will raise your vibrational level and lead you to better self-care and creativity.

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3. Communicating in a positive manner

As in any relationship, differences arise. And in fact, in relationships with the biggest differences, growth and deeper learning takes place in order to relate to one another. So celebrate the differences and learn to try to understand one another and those differences.

If you can learn to speak from your heart instead of putting your partner on the defensive, overcoming differences and learning to be more open can really be fun. For years we have been learning about "I statements."

They are really heart statements. Here is an example. Your spouse comes home late. A typical reaction might be a question like "Why are you so late in coming home?" The implication here is that the person is in trouble or has misbehaved.

A heart statement might be "Gee I really miss having time with you and I get sad or worried when you get home later than I expected." See how the communication is about caring, about loving the other person instead of interrogating the partner.

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4. Allowing 'do-overs'

When conflict and misunderstanding come into a relationship, it is often difficult to practice positive communication. In those times when buttons are being pushed and frustration or anger arises, take a break from the discussion.

During that break really try to imagine what your partner is trying to communicate and where he or she is coming from. Then go back to your heart communication and approach with the goal of understanding, accepting, and loving the other person.

Either one of you can call a Do Over or a Break as things get even a little heated. In calling a break, again bring it back to yourself with statements like" I really feel bad with how this is going and I want to find a better way to understand and support you.

How about if we try this discussion again when we both feel ready?" There is so much respect and love in that way of dealing with misunderstandings or differences.

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5. Keeping passion and excitement alive

As we keep growing in our individual passions and our learning, we bring excitement into a relationship.  This journey on earth is meant for learning and growth and not retreating into comfort or the mundane.

Fear can create a desire to protect ourselves from facing life's challenges head-on. The only 2 fears we are born with are fear of falling and fear of loud noises. The rest are learned fears. The good part about learned fears is that we can unlearn those fears by facing them when the opportunity arises.

As we individually face our fears, we create adventure, fun, and stimulation in the relationship. The passion grows in response to those behaviors. Words like "this is interesting" or "challenge accepted" can help aid us in our self-talk as we take on the challenges life gives us. Think of the energy we bring home to the relationship as we keep moving forward in life and following our dreams.

As you can see, the best relationships require self-focus and an honoring of our true selves. Then when we show up to our partner an incredibly positive and fulfilling relationship can take place.

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Janet Lee Whitney, MA, LMFT has been a licensed psychotherapist, since 1982. She is the author of the book and program entitled Facing Your Fears and Following Your Dreams.